Alleged burglar charged with dog killing

Published 10:24am Friday, October 18, 2013

The 24-year-old man who led police on a manhunt earlier this week has been accused of slashing and killing a dog in the house he supposedly burglarized, according to court documents.

Trouper Montgomery Gilbertson of Albert Lea appeared in Freeborn County District Court Thursday on charges tied to the alleged armed burglary and dog death on Sunday. Court documents stated the dog’s throat had been cut with a knife, and though it was taken to a veterinarian, it later died. Gilbertson also faced charges from the subsequent high-speed chase and search on Tuesday that resulted in his arrest.

Trouper Montgomery Gilbertson
Trouper Montgomery Gilbertson

During the chase, which started in Hartland and ended near Alden, Gilbertson was reportedly the passenger in a silver Pontiac Grand Prix, driven by Bailey Ehren Mitchell, 18, of Albert Lea. Both allegedly fled on foot from the car after it got stuck in a field. Deputies found Gilbertson in an old schoolhouse at 66788 220th St.

Gilbertson faces charges of first-degree burglary, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and animal cruelty tied to the alleged burglary of 411 Commercial St. and a charge of third-degree burglary tied to the break-in of the former schoolhouse after the chase.

Mitchell faces charges of fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle and fleeing a police officer on foot.

Assistant Freeborn County Attorney David Walker said Thursday he had public safety concerns with Gilbertson, noting the alleged use of a rifle during the Sunday burglary and the death of the dog there. He said he was also concerned with the fact that there had been additional criminal activity since the initial burglary.

He said he did not know whether alcohol or drugs played a factor.

Albert Lea police had issued a plea to the public Tuesday afternoon for help in finding Gilbertson after they had unsuccessfully searched several places for him. They described him as “armed and dangerous.”

Court documents state police received the initial report of the burglary on Commercial Street at 9:07 p.m. Sunday after the victim and a friend reportedly found Gilbertson in the house. He was allegedly carrying a loaded rifle.

Gilbertson had reportedly lived at the residence previously but had moved out at least a month prior, reports stated. He was believed to be homeless but staying at an abandoned house two doors down.

The victim told police he asked Gilbertson to leave the house, and after first asking for a ride somewhere, Gilbertson left with the rifle in hand.

Bailey Ehren Mitchel
Bailey Ehren Mitchel

The victim said Gilbertson had threatened to cut the throat of the victim’s dog before, but the dog that died in this instance belonged to a friend, according to court documents.

At 6:40 p.m. Tuesday, dispatchers received a report of a gas drive-off at the Super America gas station at the intersection of Interstate 90 and Minnesota Highway 13 involving the Grand Prix.

Shortly after, a deputy spotted the car at the Cenex gas station in Hartland and attempted to pull it over. Mitchell allegedly began driving southbound on Highway 13 reaching speeds as high as 115 mph.

The pursuit went southbound on Highway 13 to County Road 25, west through Manchester to County Road 8 and southbound to County Road 51. There, the Pontiac went off the road, through a field and became stuck.

Both Mitchell and Gilbertson allegedly took off running.

Mitchell was found near Interstate 90, and Gilbertson reportedly fled to a former schoolhouse near Alden. There, deputies found him wearing clothes from the house he had broken into.

Freeborn County District Court Judge Ross Leuning ordered Gilbertson be held in the Freeborn County jail on a $50,000 conditional bail for the alleged Commercial Street burglary and $5,000 conditional bail for the alleged burglary in Alden after the chase. He ordered Mitchell be held on a $5,000 conditional bond.

The men are next slated to appear in court Oct. 31.